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May 8, 2019

IHC stops Pemra from issuing new TV licences

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May 8, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court Tuesday ordered the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to stop issuing new licenses and sought replies from the Pemra and Ministry of Information & Broadcasting till May 22.

Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Athar Minallah took a petition filed by the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) against issuance of new television channels licenses by the Pemra.

The petitioner’s lawyer Faisal Siddique argued that the Pemra had issued 119 licenses for satellite TV channels under Section 19 of Pemra Ordinance, 2002 but the current analogue system could only accommodate a maximum of 80 channels at a time. “As a result, there are at any given point 39 channels that cannot be aired because of technical constraints of the present system,” he added.

Siddique said around 2200 cable operators were working across Pakistan. He argued that the cable operators could only accommodate a maximum of 80 channels at a time, throwing the existing channels at the mercy of cable operators as any channel would be taken off air anytime as desired by the cable operators. Therefore, the unregulated discretion in the hands of cable operators and the fact that a number of channels could not be aired at any given time was volatile of the right of business.

Hearing the initial arguments, the court ordered the Pemra to stop issuing new licenses until a verdict.

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